CANADIAN LITERATURE IN THE INTERNATIONAL HEADLINES
With the recent announcement of Canadian short-fiction writer Alice Munro as this year’s Nobel Laureate in literature, many are wondering what this holds for the perception of Canada as a literary nation.
Certain nations have an incontestable status as literary powerhouses and no matter their country of origin, little evidence is needed to convince most avid readers of the literary importance of countries such as: the U.S, U.K, France, Russia, Ireland, etc. However, many less populous nations are overshadowed by these literary behemoths and Canada is no exception.
Asking them who their favourite Canadian author is will solicit from many Canadians only blank stares and umms and uhhs, before stumbling upon the names of Atwood or Richler. Even within Canada extensive knowledge of the Canadian literary canon is largely limited to those involved in it and despite the efforts of the Canadian literary community and the government to promote Canadian literature, most Canadians read far fewer domestic works than international ones.
Canadian prose and poetry has long been overshadowed, but change may be in sight. By receiving the Nobel Prize, Munro has been internationally recognized as one of the most important living writers and as interest in her work grows so too may interest in Canadian literature as a whole. Munro’s lifetime achievement has put Canadian literature in the headlines and brought with it the hope that it will be seen there far more often.
– Connor Mellegers
Vallum: Contemporary Poetry